Thursday, January 27, 2011

What a Duck!

I recently learned that my late great-uncle, Don High, had a pet duck when he was a boy. Her name was Biddie. She laid a record-breaking number of eggs and made it into the Press-Scimitar on January 27, 1961. The Press-Scimitar was the afternoon paper. The Commercial Appeal was published as the morning paper.

Biddie actually made it into the paper three times: January 1961, June 1961 and June 1962. My grandmother saved two of the three original articles. With a quick refresher on microfiche, the article below (1st of 3) was found over the holidays. I felt like I had struck gold when Biddie strolled across my screen.

With our girls producing three eggs a day, this story gave me a whole new sense of appreciation for them and their hard work.

Stay tuned for more Biddie news!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Contraption

With lows in the 20's, we have kept a light on in the coop to keep the chicken's water from freezing. However, for his science fair project Grayson has chosen to study the effect artificial light has on egg production during which the first ten days involve no light. So we had to come up with a plan for keeping the water from freezing without exposing the chicks to light.

So to the internets we went. Thanks to the magic of YouTube we found this video which helped us create our own contraption.

We used this mat found in our basement as the base for the contraption. This will protect the light from the moist ground.

 A work light from the hardware store + a 75 watt bulb is the main source of heat.

Pot (found on the side of the road that I knew would come in handy one day!) and three modified (lots of knots to make them shorter) bungee cords. This pot is just the right size because the girls can reach the water easily.

Place the light on the mat and the pot over the light. The clay pot will help retain the heat.

After a small mishap when trying to take photos of said contraption, we learned the hard way that you need to cover the whole in the bottom of the pot to protect the hot bulb. Note to self: Steaming hot bulb + cold water = busted bulb. Thank goodness the mat was underneath to capture the small bits of broken glass!

Don't try this at home!

Place the water container on top and secure with three bungees. Also, make sure the aluminum foil is cut to size and not hanging out from beneath the container.

Blackberry went straight for the foil which resulted in me taking it apart again and trimming the foil.

I am happy to say we tested this out last week when the temps got below freezing and it worked beautifully.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Chicken Machine

Remember the chicken machine? The automated chicken spun round, made a clucking sound and laid a plastic egg. The prizes were forgettable but the machine was not. Bwaaack, b...b...b...bwaaack b...b...b...bwaaack. I distinctly remember The Chicken Machine at Sears. Not to be confused with the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, of course.

One Saturday afternoon, we heard the familiar bwack-ing sound from the backyard. Turns out that our chicks sometimes make the "chicken machine sound" when one of them is laying an egg.  


This time the prize is a little different.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Birds

While the chicks saw their first snowflakes on Christmas, they had no idea what to think of the BIG snow. Well, big for Memphis. 

The girls were warm in their snow fort this morning and not real sure they wanted to venture out.

When I opened the door, they peered out hesitantly at the white abyss. 

 The ever curious Blackberry was the only brave bird in the bunch. Try that alliteration on for size.

While Blackberry explored, Madison taunted Mei and Saffron while she ran around like a wild woman. I think I heard her call them "chicken." She LOVED the snow.

Once the snow began to melt, the girls became a little more comfortable in the tundra. They roamed the yard for most of the afternoon. All that remains are a few giant chicken tracks.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Year of the Chicken

To Teenagers

To Fine Young Ladies

Cheers from the Midtown Chicks!
Best present ever! The ladies are official thanks to this groovy sign designed by my hubby.